Welcome to Two Chicks on Books!!!

Thanks for stopping by! I'm here to share all things Bookish and also news about Movies, TV Shows, and even Video Games I love! I love to read your comments :)

Friday, July 28, 2017

Blog Tour: BLIGHT By Alexandra Duncan An Interview & Giveaway!

Hey everyone! I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the blog tour for BLIGHT by Alexandra Duncan! 

I have an interview with Alexandra to share with you today! And make sure to enter the giveaway below!

Haven't heard of BLIGHT? Check it out!

Author: Alexandra Duncan
Pub. Date: August 1, 2017
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Pages: 400
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Find it:  AmazonBarnes&NobleiBooksTBDGoodreads
When an agribusiness facility producing genetically engineered food releases a deadly toxin into the environment, seventeen-year-old Tempest Torres races to deliver the cure before time runs out.

From the author of the acclaimed American Booksellers Association’s Indies Introduce pick Salvage, which was called “Brilliant, feminist science fiction” by Stephanie Perkins, the internationally bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss. This stand-alone action-adventure story is perfect for fans of Oryx and Crake and The House of the Scorpion.

Seventeen-year-old Tempest Torres has lived on the AgraStar farm north of Atlanta, Georgia, since she was found outside its gates at the age of five. Now she’s part of the security force guarding the fence and watching for scavengers—people who would rather steal genetically engineered food from the Company than work for it. When a group of such rebels accidentally sets off an explosion in the research compound, it releases into the air a blight that kills every living thing in its path—including humans. With blight-resistant seeds in her pocket, Tempest teams up with a scavenger boy named Alder and runs for help. But when they finally arrive at AgraStar headquarters, they discover that there’s an even bigger plot behind the blight—and it’s up to them to stop it from happening again.

Inspired by current environmental issues, specifically the genetic adjustment of seeds to resist blight and the risks of not allowing natural seed diversity, this is an action-adventure story that is Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake meets Nancy Farmer’s House of the Scorpion.

Now on to the interview!

Hey Alexandra! First I want to say welcome back to Two Chicks on Books! It’s been a while since you’ve been here I’m so happy you could stop by for a chat! BLIGHT sounds absolutely fantastic and I can’t wait for everyone to read it!

For the readers: can you give us a little info on BLIGHT and the characters?

Blight is a YA eco-thriller about a world where giant agribusiness firms have taken over North America. Tempest Torres works as a border guard for one of these companies, AgraStar. A moment of mercy one night on patrol unleashes a chain reaction that upends her whole world and sends her on the run, trying to beat a rapidly-spreading genetically engineered blight to the company’s headquarters in Atlanta.

Is this a standalone or a series? And if it’s a standalone what are you working on now?

Blight is a standalone, although I’d love to write a sequel or companion to it. I just turned in a draft of my next novel, The Ember Days, about witches in Jazz-Age Charleston. Fingers crossed my editor likes it!

Were any of the characters in the book inspired by people from your real life?

Not directly. There are always pieces of me and other people I know in my characters, but none of my characters were directly based on anyone. (Thank goodness, because everyone in this book is someone who might be able to win a firefight, but none of them would be very good company.) The closest thing to a character being inspired by a real-life person is actually the setting. I grew up in the piedmont of North Carolina, close to the South Carolina border, and a lot of the landscape and plant life in Blight is based on my experience rambling around outside as a kid. For example, these vast areas overrun by kudzu were one of the defining topographical features of my childhood. In fact, it’s still something I see walking around my neighborhood, and it never ceases to spark my imagination.

Who was your favorite character to write? What about your least favorite?

I really enjoyed writing some of the supporting characters, like Eli and Juna, because they came to life so easily. The one I struggled with most was Dr. Salcedo, who shows up in the second half of the book. It was a tough balance to portray someone who has bought into some of the toxic beliefs of the company so wholeheartedly, but not to make her a cardboard cutout villain. Like many of the characters in the book, she’s an accomplice to what AgraStar does, but also a victim of it. The real villain is the system everyone is trapped in, not any one character.

What is your favorite passage/scene in BLIGHT?

I really like the end of chapter two, where Tempest has just been part of a raid on a family farm that left the father in the family injured. Tempest is trying to turn his 12 year-old daughter, Juna, to AgraStar’s side and persuade her to give them information. It’s not a happy scene, but it reveals a lot about Tempest’s character and worldview, contrasted with Juna’s.

What kind of research did you have to do for the story?

There were two main areas I needed to research - the science and ethics behind agribusiness companies’ practices and the subject of cultural erasure.

The first area was fairly straightforward. I read books like Michael Pollan’s The Botany of Desire, consulted guidebooks and websites about invasive and native plants of the Southeast, and attended a lecture about herbicide resistant weeds and scientific innovations to combat them. This is actually a topic I’ve followed since I was a teenager, when I heard rumors about “terminator seeds” being developed - seeds that would produce one generation of corn, soybeans, or whichever crop you chose, but wouldn’t produce viable seeds that you could plant. After that single generation, they were a genetic dead end. (If you’re getting worried, the technology for terminator seeds was developed, but they were never put into production.)
My research into the second area came about because of a suggestion from one of my sensitivity readers. I knew from the beginning that I wanted my protagonist to be Latina, largely because I wanted to dispel a misconception I’ve run into from people across the country and the world that there aren’t any Latinx people in the Southeastern US. I’m not Latina, but I speak Spanish and have volunteered as a translator with several nonprofits over the years. When I would tell people about studying Spanish or my volunteer work, they would look at me as if I had multiple heads and say, “I didn’t know there were any Spanish-speaking people in North Carolina!”

The difficulty I ran into was that the culture of AgraStar in the book is one of conformity, and Tempest has to buy into that mindset for the first part of the book. How do you write a character from a particular cultural background in a setting where corporate culture has deliberately choked out everything else? My first sensitivity reader suggested approaching this conundrum head-on by making cultural erasure a theme and point of discussion in the book. After all, that very dynamic plays out in places like public schools, where kids are discouraged from using any language other than English and made to feel bad or awkward about celebrating their home culture’s traditions. I read articles and listened to radio programs about the ways cultural erasure manifests, discussed the topic with my second sensitivity reader, as well, and looked back at historical examples of cultural erasure, like the removal of Native children from their families and their placement in boarding schools in order to make them “assimilate” into white culture. I hope I’ve done the topic and the people who helped me research it justice with what I’ve written.

Who is your ultimate book boyfriend?

It’s 100% Samwise Gamgee from Lord of the Rings. Everyone craps on Sam, but he’s sweet and loyal, a good cook, and a good gardener. He’s willing to literally walk into hell for the people he loves. I also feel like he would be completely fine with spending Saturday evening hanging out on the porch together and putting our feet up, which is exactly my speed.

What inspired you to write YA?

Books were my escape from a difficult home life as a teen. I write YA because I want to pay forward the gift stories gave me during that time.

Lightening Round Questions

What are you reading right now? Or what do you have on your TBR that you’re dying to read?

I would do unspeakable things for an ARC of Dhonielle Clayton’s The Belles. February is too far away.

What Hogwarts House would the Sorting Hat place you in?

I’ve always thought of myself as a Ravenclaw, but every single Sorting Hat quiz I take puts me in Hufflepuff.

Twitter or Facebook?

Twitter for writing-related stuff, Facebook for family and friends.

Favorite Superhero?

Kamala Khan Ms. Marvel!

Favorite TV show?

I might be addicted to Scandal. That show is bananas.

Sweet or Salty?


Any Phobias?


Song you can’t get enough of right now?

“Hungry Ghost,” from Hurray for the Riff Raff’s album The Navigator.

2017 Movie you’re most looking forward to?

Can I bump it to 2018 and say Black Panther?

Thanks so much Alexandra for answering my questions! I can’t wait for everyone to read BLIGHT! Big hugs!!!!

About Alexandra Duncan

Alexandra Duncan is a writer and librarian. Her first novel, Salvage, was published April 1, 2014, by Greenwillow Books. Her short fiction has appeared in several Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy anthologies and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. She loves anything that gets her hands dirty pie-baking, leatherworking, gardening, drawing, and rolling sushi. She lives with her husband and two monstrous, furry cats in the mountains of Western North Carolina.

You can visit her online at http://alexandra-duncan.com/

Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a signed hardcover of BLIGHT plus a set of the gorgeous prints in the photo, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:
Week One:
7/24/2017- Savings in SecondsReview
7/25/2017- The Autumn BookshelfInterview
7/26/2017- Wandering Bark BooksExcerpt
7/27/2017- A Dream Within A DreamReview
7/28/2017- Two Chicks on Books- Interview

Week Two:
7/31/2017- Buried Under BooksReview
8/1/2017- The Bewitched ReaderGuest Post
8/2/2017- Here's to Happy EndingsReview
8/4/2017- YABooksCentralReview

Monday, July 24, 2017

Blog Tour: VENTURESS by Betsy Cornwell An Interview & Giveaway!

Hey everyone! I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the blog tour for VENTURESS by Betsy Cornwell! I freaking love this series! 

I have an interview with Betsy to share with you today! And make sure to enter the giveaway below!

Haven't heard of VENTURESS? Check it out!

Author: Betsy Cornwell
Pub. Date: August 1, 2017
Publisher: Clarion Books
Pages: 320
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Young inventor Nicolette Lampton is living her own fairy tale happy ending. She's free of her horrible step-family, running a successful business, and is uninterested in marrying the handsome prince, Fin. Instead, she, Fin, and their friend Caro venture to the lush land of Faerie, where they seek to put an end to the bloody war their kingdom is waging. Mechanical armies and dark magic await them as they uncover devastating secrets about the past and fight for a real, lasting happily-ever-after for two troubled countries—and for themselves.

Now on to the interview!

Hey Betsy!! First I want to say welcome back to Two Chicks on Books I’m glad you could stop by for a chat! VENTURESS was freaking AWESOME and I can’t wait for everyone to read it!

For the readers: can you tell us a little bit about the events leading up to VENTURESS and the characters?

Okay first of all, thank you so much! It’s always a huge relief to hear that someone enjoyed your new book. Since VENTURESS is a standalone novel - meaning that you don’t have to read MECHANICA first to understand what’s happening - I wanted to put a little bit of space in between the first book in the series and this one.

VENTURESS kicks off a year after the end of MECHANICA, on the eve of the annual ball and scientific exposition. The heroine, Nick, is a successful inventor living happily with her clockwork horse and other steampunk animal companions in the heart of the royal city. Her best friends/family unit, Caro and Fin, are both wrapped up in their own challenges: a new romance for Caro, and all sorts of political trouble for Fin. There’s a war between their country and Faerie, and at the ball Nick receives a secret message begging for help with the resistance.

So is this the end for Nicolette and the crew? And if it is what are you working on now?

VENTURESS is the last book with these main characters, but I’m not quite done with the world of Esting and Faerie: you might see Nick and her friends popping up in the background of future books. I’ve just wrapped up revisions on a girl-Robin-Hood retelling called THE FOREST QUEEN that’s set in Esting 200 years before Nick was born. (You might notice little references to the Forest Queen’s story in both MECHANICA and VENTURESS.)

Were any of the characters in the book inspired by people from your real life?

I think there are little pieces of many people from my life in all of my characters, but I don’t tend to base them directly on just one person. I certainly met plenty of strong and smart young women inventors at Smith, where I went to college: it was the first college in the country to offer an all-women’s engineering program. I definitely think Nick would fit right in with that group of Smithies.

Who was your favorite character to write? What about your least favorite?

I always love writing Jules, Nick’s mechanical horse. It was probably even more fun to write about him in VENTURESS than it was in MECHANICA, because he spends all his time actual-horse-sized instead of tiny and therefore can be more involved in all the action. I don’t think I had a least favorite character to write - if I start to hate writing someone, I take that as a sign that they shouldn’t be in the book at all.

What is your favorite passage/scene in VENTURESS?

I have two! One is their underwater adventure in the bathysphere pods, which you can actually preview on HMH Teen right now (link: 

The other is a spoiler, sorry! I cried when I wrote it, so it might be masochistic to 
say it’s one of my favorites, but I’m proud of it.

What kind of research did you have to do for the story?

One of the things that’s never sat easy with me about the steampunk genre is how pro-colonial it can be. I wanted Esting to be a darker vision of Victorian-era imperial England. Faerie is at least partly inspired by my adopted home country of Ireland, which was of course one of England’s colonies. I read about the colonial history of Ireland, as well as America and India, as I was getting ready to write both MECHANICA and VENTURESS.

I do a lot of research into folklore and fairy tales in my work as the story editor at PARABOLA, a magazine that examines religious and spiritual traditions from around the world. As I was finishing VENTURESS, I came across a popular Korean fairy tale called “The Blind Man’s Daughter,” and I was startled by how perfectly it fit in with the themes I was exploring in my book. I have one of my characters tell a Faerie interpretation of that story in VENTURESS.

Who is your ultimate book boyfriend?

There are so many! Springing to mind right now is Char from ELLA ENCHANTED - Gail Carson Levine really knows how to write swoony MG/YA heroes.

What inspired you to write YA?

In college, I spent a semester interning at Teen Ink Magazine, and I was blown away by the quality of writing we received (Teen Ink is one of the biggest publishers of literary writing by teenagers). I kept thinking about all the beautiful, inventive, and lyrical fairy tale retellings I’d loved to read when I was younger. I realized that my wish to write literary fiction and my love for fairy tales and YA didn’t have to be mutually exclusive! I drafted my first novel, TIDES, during that semester.

Lightening Round Questions

What are you reading right now? Or what do you have on your TBR that you’re dying to read?

The Invention of Angela Carter, a biography of my favorite writer.

What Hogwarts House would the Sorting Hat place you in?

OK, I have to give a slightly extended answer for this one. When I was eleven/actual first year age: Ravenclaw, all the way. But adult me would beg to be a Hufflepuff.

Twitter or Facebook?


Favorite Superhero?

Gertrude Yorkes from Runaways.

Favorite TV show?

Buffy, always and forever.

Sweet or Salty?


Any Phobias?

Spiders, unfortunately. At least there are no deadly ones in Ireland.

Song you can’t get enough of right now?

“The Maid Freed From The Gallows” sung by Tia Blake, which I listened to incessantly over the last few months while I was working on THE FOREST QUEEN.

2017 Movie you’re most looking forward to?

Probably the Kingsman sequel - the first one was so fun.

Thanks so much Betsy for answering my questions! I can’t wait for everyone to read VENTURESS!

Thank you so much for having me!

About Betsy:
Hi! I'm Betsy Cornwell, an American writer and teacher living in a stove-heated cottage in west Ireland, together with my horse trainer spouse, a small herd of dairy goats, and an increasing number of other animals. I write fiction and nonfiction and blog about Irish folklore, travel, wild food, goats (of course!), homesteading, and growing up.

Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive a finished copy of VENTURESS. US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:

Week One:
7/24/2017- Two Chicks on Books- Interview
7/25/2017- Here's to Happy Endings- Review
7/26/2017- BookHounds YAGuest Post
7/27/2017- The Book Nut- Interview
7/28/2017- jrsbookreviewsReview

Week Two:
7/31/2017- Nicole's Novel Reads- Review
8/1/2017- Novel NoviceGuest Post
8/3/2017- YA Book MadnessInterview
8/4/2017- Sarcasm & LemonsReview

Grab the first book in the series!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

VIAL THINGS By Leah Cliffird New Cover Reveal!

VIAL THINGS (Resurrectionist #1) by Leah Clifford has a new cover! Check it out!
You can grab a copy for $2.99 on Kindle, or if you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, it’s FREE!

Just want to try it? Read the first chapter HERE


When the resurrectionists of Fissure's Whipp begin disappearing, eighteen-year-old Allie knows someone is after their bloodor, more accurately, the genetic mutation that allows their blood to heal wounds, save lives and even bring back the recently deceased.

Raised by her aunt after her parents' deaths, Allie knows staying vigilant means staying alive. She's trained her whole life to protect herself by any means necessary, from self defense classes to extensive weapons training in knives. Now, she’s gone so far as to befriend a homeless boy named Ploy who unknowingly trades a few nights a week on her couch in exchange for being a human tripwire to those hunting her.

But as Allie and Ploy's feelings for each other grow, Allie realizes this time, she'll need more than fighting skills and a sharp blade to beat a villain literally out for blood.

Protecting a girl he shouldn’t love, from a threat he understands too well, Ploy must face his past to save his future in Allie’s world
a world where bringing back the dead can cost you your life.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Blog Tour: BURIED HEART by Kate Elliott An Interview & Giveaway!

Hey everyone! I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the blog tour for BURIED HEART by Kate Elliott! I freaking love this series! And this ending was beautifully written and so bittersweet but I loved it!

I have an interview with Kate to share with you today! And make sure to enter the giveaway below!

Haven't heard of BURIED HEART? Check it out!

Title: BURIED HEART (Court of Fives #3)
Author: Kate Elliott
Release Date: July 25, 2017
Pages: 448
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | iBooks | TBD
The explosive finale to World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott's captivating, New York Times bestselling young adult series

In this third book in the epic Court of Fives series, Jessamy is the crux of a revolution forged by the Commoner class hoping to overthrow their longtime Patron overlords. But enemies from foreign lands have attacked the kingdom, and Jes must find a way to unite the Commoners and Patrons to defend their home and all the people she loves. Will her status as a prominent champion athlete be enough to bring together those who have despised one another since long before her birth? Will she be able to keep her family out of the clutches of the evil Lord Gargaron? And will her relationship with Prince Kalliarkos remain strong when they find themselves on opposite sides of a war? Find all the answers in this beautifully written and exciting conclusion to World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott's debut New York Times bestselling young adult trilogy! 

Now on to the interview!

Kate Elliott Interview Two Chicks Interview 7/21/2017

Hi Kate! First I want to say welcome back to Two Chicks on Books! I love your COURT OF FIVES series and can’t wait to read BURIED HEART!
I am so happy that you could stop by for a visit!

Thank you for having me! I’m excited to be back--I’ve now done a blog tour post for you for each of the three novels of the trilogy! I really appreciate your support.

For the readers: can you give us a little recap about the series so far and the characters? And what we can expect in BURIED HEART?

From Kirkus Reviews, for Court of Fives: “After the death of the highly placed aristocrat whose patronage ensured their safety, Jessamy’s mixed-race family [Patron father, Commoner mother, and four sisters] is targeted by political enemies; spared thanks to her skill at the game of Fives, she must find a way to save them.”

Beyond this paragraph lie spoilers, so read on at your own risk:

Jes has to make a difficult choice at the end of Court of Fives that involves the young man (and adversary) she cares for, Prince Kalliarkos.

In Poisoned Blade, Jes is running for the Fives stable owned by Kalliarko’s scheming uncle, Gargaron. She has to keep winning in order to save her family from discovery. Events propel her and her younger sister Amaya into a cross country journey in the retinue of Lord Gargaron; the two girls are searching for their missing sister Bettany, but when they find her things don’t go as planned. Meanwhile, after generations of oppression, the conquered people of Efea are threatening to rise up, and Jes’s parents Esladas and Kiya (whom she both loves) are already on opposite sides.
In Buried Heart, foreign invaders threaten an already unstable political situation in Efea. Jes will be caught between both of her heritages--Patron and Commoner--while her greatest enemy, Gargaron, will stop at nothing to defeat her.

So now that the series is over what are you working on now?

Later this year I have a novelette set in the Spiritwalker universe (Cold Magic) coming out in THE BOOK OF SWORDS, edited by Gardner Dozois. It’s called “I Am a Handsome Man,” Said Apollo Crow.  It will be published this October 2017, and I should note that the anthology includes an original Game of Thrones short story by George R. R. Martin as well as stories by fourteen other wonderful writers like Ken Liu, Elizabeth Bear, Scott Lynch, and many more.

I am also working on the second volume of the Black Wolves trilogy, an epic fantasy. I’m about a third done with that at the moment. In addition I’ve been developing a new project on the space opera sub genre that I’m quite excited about: fast paced, operatic, and bold.

Were any of the characters in the book inspired by people from your real life?

No. I don’t normally base characters on real people. But I do use characteristics of people I know when I’m trying to make characters in my stories behave more realistically and dramatically.

Who was your favorite character to write? What about your least favorite?

Jes has been my favorite character to write. I have loved writing about a girl who is competitive and confident, and yet who is also flawed and makes mistakes because she thinks she knows more than she does and because she is determined to win.

I don’t really have a character who was my least favorite to write. The characters I would like least in real life -- the villains -- are in a weird way pretty enjoyable to write because I can go no holds barred with them.

What is your favorite passage/scene in BURIED HEART?

I honestly have a number of scenes in Buried Heart that I really like. Because it’s the third book in the trilogy it means that many large and small plot threads got to be exploded and/or fulfilled in this volume. Some of them were painful to write and others were really really satisfying to write. There is a passage that surprised me most because it wasn’t planned in advance -- in other words, the idea for it popped into my head as I was writing a scene and needed a certain . . . something to make the scene more gripping and awful. It’s a scene with a barrel. You’ll know it when you get there. (Jaime OMG I know the scene! I killed me)

Who is your ultimate book boyfriend?

Mr Darcy from Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice. His emotional journey is appealing and also feels real: His essential nature doesn’t change as much as he learns some humility and endeavors to understand himself better in order to be worthy of Elizabeth. He also does good deeds without asking for credit. And of course, he owns a beautiful house.

What inspired you to write YA?

Wanting to place a girl front and center in an epic fantasy tale of action, adventure, revolution, and family drama. I’ve written girls and women as main characters in adult sff too, but YA as a genre is so enthusiastic toward heroines and I wanted to write a story where the MC’s centrality in the story would never be questioned or seen as odd.

Lightning Round Questions

What are you reading right now? Or what do you have on your TBR that you’re dying to read?

DREAD NATION by Justina Ireland (April 2018).  Post Civil War zombies. A fantastic cover. I’m really enjoying this novel (and I don’t like zombies!), and I hope you read it when it comes out.

2017 Movie you’re most looking forward to?

Thor: Ragnarok. I’m not sure how good it’s going to be, but Cate Blanchett looks so great in the trailer. For 2018, Black Panther.

What Hogwarts House would the Sorting Hat place you in?


Twitter or Facebook?


Favorite Superhero?


Favorite TV show?

Classic: Firefly
Current: Harlots

Sweet or Salty?


Any Phobias?

giant centipedes

Song you can’t get enough of right now?

This Is What You Came For (Calvin Harris feat. Rihanna).

I think of this as Jes’s theme song for BURIED HEART.


Thanks so much Kate for answering my questions! I can’t wait for everyone to read BURIED HEART!

About Kate:
Kate Elliott has been writing stories since she was nine years old, which has led her to believe that writing, like breathing, keeps her alive. As a child in rural Oregon, she made up stories because she longed to escape to a world of lurid adventure fiction. She now writes fantasy, steampunk, science fiction, and YA, including recent works Black Wolves, Court of Fives, and Cold Magic.

It should come as no surprise that she met her future husband in a sword fight. When he gave up police work to study archaeology, they and their three children fell into an entirely new set of adventures amid dusty Mexican ruins and mouthwatering European pastry shops. Eventually her spouse’s work forced them to move to Hawaii, where she took up outrigger canoe paddling. With the three children out of the house, they now spoil the schnauzer.

Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive a finished copy of BURIED HEART, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:

Week One:
7/17/2017- YA Books Central- Interview
7/18/2017- The Eater of Books!Review
7/19/2017- Novel NoviceGuest Post
7/20/2017- Just CommonlyReview
7/21/2017- Two Chicks on BooksInterview

Week Two:
7/24/2017- My Thoughts LiterallyReview
7/25/2017- Sarcasm & LemonsReview
7/26/2017- Stephanie PlotkinReview
7/27/2017- PaperTrailYAExcerpt
7/28/2017- Seeing Double In NeverlandReview

Grab the first two books in the series and the novellas!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...